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DOG BITES

Dog bites cause serious injuries each year in Massachusetts. Over the last 25 years, lawyers at Morgan & Murphy have represented numerous adults and children who have been victims of dog bites and attacks. Victims may receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement.

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  • WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

    Massachusetts General Laws state that dog owners, in most circumstances, are strictly liable and can be held responsible when their dogs bite or attack an adult or child. Dogs attack people for a variety of reasons. The injuries resulting from these attacks can be serious and, in most cases, are compensable. While an adult who provokes a dog is not generally entitled to compensation under the statute, young children may be determined to be incapable of provoking. There is a fine line between inadvertent teasing or annoying a dog and provocation. If someone is suggesting that you or your child provoked a dog attack, you should seek an attorney experienced in handling dog bites or attacks to counsel you on your rights.

    Dog bites and attacks occur under various circumstances. Massachusetts laws allow people who have been bitten or attacked by dogs to recover from the owner or the keeper of the dog whether or not the dog is on the owner’s property. Every city and town in Massachusetts has some form of a leash law that requires owners to restrain their dogs or maintain control of their dogs in public places and on public streets. Most homeowners or premises liability insurance companies pay for injuries arising out of dog bites or attacks. Because of strict liability laws, insurance companies often try to offer quick and often inadequate settlements. Before accepting any offer, you should inquire about your rights and seek a free consultation from an attorney experienced in handling dog bite claims.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO IN CASE OF A DOG BITE?

    Dogs have very sharp teeth which can cause puncture wounds, lacerations, infections, deep wounds and in some cases, death. Please get MEDICAL CARE immediately after a dog bite. Use your applicable health insurance to pay for this care. Next, IDENTIFY THE DOG by getting the dog’s name and breed and the owner’s name and address. Then call the DOG OFFICER or ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER for the City or Town where the attack occurred. Give that person an accurate description of the attack and the dog. It is important to get information from the dog officer about the dog’s shot history and any prior attacks. Since many dog bites cause bodily disfigurement, take PICTURES of the injuries as soon as possible after the attack. Continue to take PICTURES during each different phase of healing. Then consider contacting an experienced personal injury law firm like Morgan & Murphy for a free initial consultation to learn your rights.

    WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?

    *LOST WAGES as a result of time missed from work to recover from the injuries.

    **MEDICAL BILLS incurred as a result of the attack. This includes payment for emergency room visits, primary care or pediatrician visits, medication, plastic surgery consultations, the plastic or cosmetic surgery itself and scar revision surgery. For children, it includes the payment for any additional surgery which may be necessary when the child matures. You can also recover in some circumstances for counseling or psychiatric bills incurred due to nightmares or flashbacks from the attack.

    **PAIN AND SUFFERING for periods of total and partial disability sustained as a result of the dog attack. This includes both physical and mental suffering supported by medical evidence.

    **BODILY DISFIGUREMENT OR SCARRING as a result of the attack. If warranted, you should get a consultation from a plastic surgeon to determine whether your disfigurement can be improved or eliminated with cosmetic surgery.

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    Children are often the victims of dog bites and since their skin is so fragile, they are subject to significant bodily disfigurement. If you or a family member has been the victim of a dog bite or attack, please seek immediate medical care and consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Morgan & Murphy. Our lawyers will meet with you, investigate the circumstances surrounding the dog bite, speak with witnesses, obtain medical records and deal with insurance company adjustors to get you the best settlement possible. Our fees are contingent upon success. We never charge for any fees unless we win your case and obtain for you the compensation you deserve.

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    Morgan & Murphy Person Injury Attorneys
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    Sample of Verdicts

      $150,000 settlement on a SLIP AND FALL ON ICE AND SNOW. The client underwent surgery for a broken leg after he slipped and fell on the sidewalk outside his home. We recovered pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses for the client.

      $80,000 settlement for a slip and fall at a convenience store on a wet floor. The client sustained several broken bones. The convenience store defended saying that there were "WET FLOOR" posted throughout the area. Despite that the defense, we were able to get the insurance company to pay for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

      $30,000 settlement for an OUT OF STATE DOG BITE CLAIM. We contended that the dog's owner was strictly liable for the injury to the finger and we were able to settle the claim successfully without having to leave Massachusetts.

      $100,000 policy limit settlement for a person injured in an auto accident. During arbitration we successfully argued that the plaintiff's pre-existing, congenital Chiari Malformation was aggravated to such an extent by the injuries sustained in the car accident that they became disabling and in need of surgical correction. The arbitrator agreed and ordered the insurance company to pay the entire amount of its policy.